US - California - Full Moon 132 - 06/30/07
Queens of the Stone Age
It's time for chapter five regarding the QOTSA book of records, and the second album after Joshua Homme's former sidekick, bass man Nick Oliveri was kicked out of the band. As always Homme tickles the vulgar, but he's also a smart guitar player as well as a smart song writer.
Since their massive breakthrough with Songs for the Deaf, QOTSA have maintained their position as one of the toughest and coolest alternative rock bands, even though Lullabies to Paralyze didn't match the success of its predecessor. Anyway, Era Vulgaris is another interesting and entertaining album. Innovative yet sort of traditionalistic, dead serious yet loaded with humour. And, there's no doubt that QOTSA is Josh Homme's baby.
Era Vulgaris starts almost in King Crimson territory with "Turnin' on the Screw", with its rather Fripp-esque guitars. The album turns in many directions: "Sick, Sick, Sick" is a plain, dumb, tough rocker, "Make It Wit Chu" is showing QOTSA with a soft spot, "3's & 7's" is catchy in a 60s styled way, while the poppy "Into the Hollow" and the closing "The Fun Machine Took a Shit & Died" shows vintage, trademark Homme guitars. "I'm Designer" is very cool and dazed.
There's been a long line of musicians on board battleship QOTSA, and there are always many guests and friends playing along (on QOTSA albums as well as the Desert Sessions). Era Vulgaris was said to bring the contributing voices of (the regular) Mark Lanegan, Nail-man Trent Reznor and Stroke-singer Julian Casablancas. The album has no credits and/or info about who's doing what. The title track, featuring Reznor, was launched as a taster online in prior to the album, but isn't included here. In many ways Era Vulgaris shows Homme's playfulness and wit, but maybe most of all his unpredictability. Era Vulgaris is not bad, but far from his best work.
Copyright © 2007 Håvard Oppøyen